Getting Your Project Estimate Right The First Time

Areial view of workers on a construction site

In the world of construction estimation, accuracy is king. Experienced estimators are all too familiar with what can happen when an estimate ends up totally misplaced with its original intentions. Anything can happen before, during, and after the estimate to throw a wrench into the works; as a project manager or estimator, it’s up to you to make sure everything is as close to perfect as you can get it.

How do you assure your next estimate is going to be a success? In today’s blog, the expert quantity surveyors from Max Takeoffs will be going over the steps you need to take in order to get the best construction estimate possible.

Set Your Budget Up Correctly From The Start

As a general rule, the less you need to recalculate an established construction budget, the better off the project will be. Although avoiding additional budget considerations after a project has started is next to impossible, you can ease the impact by making sure you cover every last bit of supplementary costs you can think of — labor, materials, tools, time, and supplies.

With a well-researched and comprehensive budget, you can be fully prepared for the worst to happen.

Choose The Right Tools

Whether you’re doing the estimate “old-school” with pen, calculator, and paper, or you’re going full-blown digital with estimating software, make sure you’re using the right tools for the job.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is communication — no matter what format you choose to use, consider that updates and edits will need to be shared with site managers, superintendents, construction workers, and customers. If they aren’t able to access your estimate quickly and easily, it will add unnecessary time to a schedule that is probably tight enough already as it is.

Though the traditional pen-and-paper approach to estimating might work for smaller projects, the human tendency to make mistakes should be taken into consideration for a project of any size. Even with estimating software, there is still a dependency on human interaction; although you might have decades of experience with calculating numbers by hand, it pays to remember that a 100% error-free estimate is hard to achieve, even for the most well-trained minds.

One of the best ways to avoid time sinks and miscalculations is to hire a company like Max Takeoffs to do your quantity surveying for you. Not only will they eliminate the chance for errors, they can provide you with a budget estimation that will satisfy you, your employees, and your customer.

 

Invest In Training

Although training is something that a lot of estimators don’t take into account until after their estimate has been completed, it is definitely something that should be considered during the estimation process.

Properly trained employees can ease the burdens of cost, time, and labor for your company. Take the time to make sure anyone involved in the project is properly trained, starting from the top of the ladder all the way to the very bottom.

  • Make sure back office employees are trained in the use of whatever method you choose to make your estimations. If additional training is required for estimation software, set a company budget aside for that. For training in other areas, set aside company time for inter-office courses.
  • For workers on the ground, ensure that they are all trained in the implementation of tools, equipment, and materials that will be used on the project. The more knowledgeable your workers are, the better off your estimate results will be.

Hire The Right People

A successful project is determined by the people involved in it. Choose experienced workers and estimators on your team to lead as examples for the rest. In the case of management, make sure they have all the information they’ll need to make the project a smashing success.

Experience is one of the most decisive factors in a project’s success, so keep that in mind while you are determining who gets a place on the project.

Create A Contingency Budget

Lots of things can happen during a project — supplies can run out, workers can be hurt, and schedules can change at a moment’s notice. These kinds of incidents can’t be avoided, but a contingency budget will give you the breathing room to deal with any unforeseen circumstances your project might run into.

It’s up to you whether you choose to include a contingency budget directly in the primary construction budget itself, or have it set aside as an additional option to pull emergency funds if needed. Regardless of how you do it, just including one is a sign that you and your company are prepared for the worst to happen.

Rely On Max Takeoffs for Efficient And Accurate Quantity Takeoffs

When you partner with Max Takeoffs, you’re relying on a company that has the experience you need to get your project cost estimations done quickly, efficiently, and accurately. With each project, our team carefully examines your plans and quantifies all the materials you’ll need to ensure your success, on time and on budget.

Submit proposals faster, get better results, and win more projects with help from Max Takeoffs. To submit a proposal to us, please request a quote. We’ll respond back to you as soon as possible and let you know what the next step will be.

For more information on our takeoff service, contact us today. Well be glad to answer any questions you might have!

What Is A Quantity Takeoff?

Construction workers surveying a site

The construction industry is a highly competitive business where the easiest mistakes to make can end up costing thousands of dollars for your organization. Accuracy is a necessity, and a company that can’t reliably offer it 100% of the time is at a disadvantage to everyone else when it comes to handling bids, contracts, and projects. As any project manager can tell you, this is especially true of construction budgets, and by extension, quantity takeoffs.

So what exactly is a quantity takeoff? The experts at Max Takeoffs like to describe it simply as “the process of estimating the quantities of materials for a construction project.” 

Estimating construction quantities is quite a complex process, but the purpose they fulfill is simple. Every construction project, from the largest multi-million dollar proposal to the smallest shack renovation, needs to know how much money is expected to be spent on the materials necessary to get the job finished. A mismanaged contractor estimate can potentially cripple any project, so it’s important that material costs are accurate from the beginning.

Quantity takeoffs go by other names, including:

  • Construction takeoffs
  • Estimating takeoffs
  • Material takeoffs
  • Quantity surveying
  • Material estimating

No matter what an organization decides to call them, quantity takeoffs are all about the physical material. Other needs like labor, insurance, permits, equipment, or overhead are not accounted for in a quantity takeoff — those are handled by other estimates and other departments.

Manual Quantity Takeoffs

Back before computers were easily accessible to the public, estimators did all of their work by hand. Depending on the size of the project, this process could take anywhere from several days to several weeks. This form of manual quantity takeoff was a painstaking routine that required the estimator to make complex calculations based off of physical drawings or blueprints, hopefully with the help of a calculator. Comparing how quantity takeoffs are done today with the way they were done in the past, you can imagine the amount of hours that were wasted doing such complicated work almost entirely by hand.

With the introduction of computers into the mix, the work of quantity takeoffs got much easier for estimators to deal with. Software such as Excel allowed estimators to make calculations on demand and more efficiently than ever before. Quantity takeoffs became a much simpler (and accurate) process for everyone involved, as computing allowed for time normally spent on estimating to be used in other areas of a project.

Digital Quantity Takeoffs

 

It was only a matter of time before software was designed to specifically tackle material takeoffs. CAD-based programs became available in the late 1980s, and they soon evolved to include sophisticated and speedy takeoff software that could do the job much more efficiently than a person could ever hope to.

These days, instead of relying on an operator to calculate everything, all that is required is a human to enter the data into the software; after that a computer can accurately do all the rest. Of course, getting an error-free estimate will always depend on the operator entering the primary information correctly, but for the most part the burden of expecting a fallible human brain do all of the estimation work dependably and with complete accuracy has been erased.

Quantity Takeoffs In The Modern Age

Despite having all of these digital tools to help contractors estimate construction takeoffs, they are still complex and involved processes that require training, practice, time, and a whole lot of patience. When accuracy needs to be ensured, many companies are not willing or able to rely on manual takeoffs, especially on larger projects where a miscalculation can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even in the case of digital takeoffs, there is still the human factor to take into consideration, and money spent training someone to enter data into a computer program can probably be better spent elsewhere in any given organization.

When your company relies on accurate quantity takeoffs, but you don’t have the manpower, time, or training to do the job right, where can you go for help?

Rely On Max Takeoffs for Efficient And Accurate Quantity Takeoffs

When you partner with Max Takeoffs, you’re relying on a company that has the experience you need to get your project cost estimations done quickly, efficiently, and accurately. With each project, our team carefully examines your plans and quantifies all the materials you’ll need to ensure your success, on time and on budget.

Submit proposals faster, get better results, and win more projects with help from Max Takeoffs. To submit a proposal to us, please request a quote. We’ll respond back to you as soon as possible and let you know what the next step will be.

For more information on our takeoff service, contact us today. Well be glad to answer any questions you might have!